how to start a pressure washing business

Want to learn how to start a pressure washing business? You’ve come to the right place. As the #1 supplier of industrial pressure washers in the industry, we’ve seen the rise and fall of many pressure washing companies. There are a few things that separate those who succeed from those who struggle – and today, we’ll explain how you can get started on the right foot and build a thriving pressure washing business.

We’ll answer a few common questions we get:

  1. Should you learn how to start a pressure washing business?
  2. What do your need to start a pressure washing business?
  3. What steps stand between you and your first customer?

We assume you already have some experience using a pressure washer (if not…maybe consider a different business model?). However, we’ll point you towards some great resources on how to use a pressure washer for different business purposes – whether you want to clean houses or wash cars

We’ve got a lot to cover in order to help you take that leap of faith and start your business. So, let’s get started with a simple yet important question…is this the right business for you?

Should I Start a Pressure Washer Business?

We know you’re eager to start your pressure washer business. But first, we want to help you set your expectations and determine whether or not this is truly the right business for you. Commercial pressure washers aren’t cheap – so, you are going to need to fully commit to this investment if you decide to pull the trigger and get started.  But, what does that look like?

For starters, let’s dispel a common myth – you don’t need to have a lot of money saved up in order to start your pressure washing business. In fact, many people finance their pressure washers and other startup costs. However, we do recommend having some sort of financial safety net in place before starting any business – especially if you’re quitting your day job to pursue this full-time. There are always going to be unexpected costs when starting a business – so it’s important to have some savings set aside to cover those.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…let’s talk about what type of person succeeds in the pressure washing industry. First and foremost, you must be passionate about what you’re doing. If you don’t enjoy pressure washing, it’s going to be very difficult to run a successful business. It’s not all glamorous – there will be long days and early mornings. You’ll spend a lot of time in the sun.  But, if you truly love what you’re doing, those long days won’t feel so long. And for what it’s worth, there will likely reach a point where you no longer perform the pressure washing service. If you scale your business successfully, you’ll have employees work in the business so you can work on the business.

When first starting your business, you may deal with rejection as you seek those initial customers. This can lead to many people quitting early – resulting in wasted time and money. But, each rejection means you’re one person closer to that first customer. You need to be persistent and committed to the big picture. In addition, being detail oriented and having a strong work ethic are both essential qualities for success in this industry.

So…if after reading all of that you still think starting a pressure washing business is right for you…congrats! You’ve taken the first step towards becoming your own boss and building something great. Now let’s move on to what type of pressure washing business you should start…

What Type of Pressure Washing Business Should You Start?

You may be thinking…should I start a residential or commercial pressure washing business? The answer to that question largely depends on what type of customers you want to work with and what equipment you have.

If you’re starting your business on a tight budget, we recommend beginning with a residential pressure washing business. You can use this time to build up your customer base and perfect your processes. Once you have some money saved up, you can then invest in commercial-grade equipment and begin targeting commercial clients. And, it’s important to note that many people who start pressure washing businesses clean both residential and commercial properties. It’s also worth noting that from what we see, the real money is in commercial pressure washing services. You can secure a single commercial contract with one business that exceeds the value of an entire roster of residential clients.

If you have your heart set on starting a commercial pressure washing business, that’s great! You can begin by reaching out to small businesses in your area – like car dealerships, restaurants, or apartment complexes. These types of businesses are typically in need of regular pressure washing services.

No matter what type of pressure washing business you decide to start, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment. And that’s what we’re going to cover next – what do you need to start a pressure washing business?

What Do You Need To Start A Pressure Washing Business?

If you came here wondering what you need to start a pressure washing business, this section is for you. We mentioned that one of the advantages of starting a pressure washing business, in particular, is the low investment capital needed. And it’s true – you don’t need a whole lot:

  • A Hotsy commercial pressure washer
  • A water tank
  • A generator (optional)
  • Pressure washing detergents
  • Hoses and nozzles
  • Safety gear (gloves, goggles, etc.)
  • Persistence & work ethic

Of course, you’ll also need a vehicle to transport your pressure washer(s) and other equipment. Many people use pickup trucks – but vans or trailers can work well too. Just make sure you have enough space to store everything when it’s not in use!

However, you want to perform the best service possible – so, you need the best equipment. You may be tempted to skimp on quality to save a few dollars. Trust us when we say that you’ll pay for it in the long run. Replacement parts, poor efficiency, premature machine failure, and unhappy customers are not worth saving a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on your startup costs. So, stick with the best commercial pressure washers. Our yearly review consists of recommendations for any use case – so check it out if you’re not sure where to start.

Or, reach out to us at Hotsy San Antonio – as the #1 provider of pressure washers in San Antonio, we can help you get exactly what you need to set out on the right foot. We have industrial hot water pressure washers, cold water pressure washers, pressure washer trailers, and a whole lot more. We even have the quality pressure washer soap you need to really cut through grime.

Remember – you can always add on to your pressure washing business as it grows. So, don’t feel like you need to have everything on this list before getting started. Just make sure you have the essentials: a Hotsy commercial pressure washer, water tank, and soap. Everything else can be added later!

How to Start a Pressure Washing Business: Step by Step Guide

Ok – we’ve covered the basics and explained what do you need to start a pressure washing business. But now, we want to give you a step-by-step guide on how to start a pressure washing business. Keep in mind – this is a very broad overview of the process. There is much more that goes into actually getting your business off the ground. However, we’re simply here to point you in the right direction – the rest is up to you! Let’s start with choosing your business model.

Step 1) Determine Your Business Model

As we mentioned earlier, you can either start a residential cleaning business or a commercial cleaning business. Determining the specific type of business you want to start will dictate the next steps – such as securing your startup equipment. Now, we recommend you niche down as much as possible. The business we’ve seen succeed start with a single offering: maybe it’s pressure washing house exteriors in affluent neighborhoods. Or, perhaps it’s cleaning road grime off trucking fleets.

Whatever you do, niche down as much as you can. There are a few benefits to this:

  1. You’ll earn a reputation as the “go-to source” for your offering.
  2. You’ll have lower start-up costs, as your equipment will be so specialized (no need to stock up on different nozzles, different soaps, etc.)
  3. You’ll truly become the best at what you do by repeating the same service over and over again.

Once you determine exactly what you do – and who you’re going to do it for – it’s time to get your equipment.

Step 2) Get Your Pressure Washing Equipment & Supplies

Think back to what we said in the section “what do you need to start a pressure washing business?”. It’s time to secure all your equipment and supplies. The specific type of pressure washer (hot water vs cold water pressure washers & gas vs electric pressure washers) will depend on the business model you came up with. You’ll want to use a cold water pressure washer if you’re doing less intense residential jobs. But, if you’re looking to tackle the toughest cleaning jobs, you’ll want the power of hot water. Similarly, you’ll want to choose a gas pressure washer if you do remote cleaning jobs where power may not be available. Other important considerations include your budget and what’s available in your area.

If you’re starting a mobile pressure washing business you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to invest in a pressure washer trailer. These can be expensive – but they make life much easier (and increase profits by cutting down on travel time). We have a guide explaining how to build a pressure washer trailer if you want to go the DIY route. But ultimately, we recommend you purchase a trailer that’s been designed and manufactured by the pros here at Hotsy.

And, of course, you’ll need to stock up on pressure washer detergent. This is arguably the most important part of starting your business – as it’s what will allow you to deliver quality results time and time again. We recommend only using Hotsy pressure washer soap in your machine. And, we recommend choosing the right pressure washer soap for the job. This goes back to becoming a “specialist” rather than a “generalist”. Be sure you have the correct pressure washer nozzle for soap as well.

Step 3) Perfect Your Technique Before Offering Services

The last thing you want is to finally get that first client, and end up performing a lackluster service. Not only will you lose that customer, but your reputation is damaged from the jump. That’s why we say it is so important to be good at pressure washing before you even try and get your first customer. We have a guide on how to use a pressure washer for beginners. And, we also have a resource covering more advanced pressure washing techniques. Both of these are excellent resources for those looking to hone their skills in before conducting outreach.

Step 4) Get That First Customer!

Now comes the fun part – hunting down your first customer. The necessary steps here will vary depending on your business model. If you’re offering residential pressure washing services – such as cleaning house siding or washing cars, you can find an affluent neighborhood near you and go door to door. Or, leverage the power of social media. You can run paid ads in your area if you’ve got some budget left over. Craigslist and local job boards are also a good, gritty way to get started. There are so many ways to get residential customers – you just have to get to work and stay consistent. Don’t get discouraged.

Now, if you’re seeking commercial clients, you’ll want to be a bit more strategic in how you conduct outreach. It will be more difficult to get in touch with decision makers at businesses. Find ways to get past the receptionist and to the person who holds your fate in their hands.

Tips for Getting Your Pressure Washing Start-up off the Ground and Running

Before we wrap up our guide on how to start a pressure washing business, we want to leave you with a few more tips to get your company off the ground. First things first – get insured! This is critical. You do not want to be held liable in the event that something goes wrong while you’re on a job.

Next, we recommend joining pressure washing associations and trade groups. These are excellent places to network with other professionals in your field – and they can help you stay up to date on industry news, changes, etc. You may even gain some referrals.

And finally, don’t forget to market your business! Get some lawn signs made, design a killer website and make sure your branding is on point. You want potential customers to see you as a top-tier pressure washing company in your area – and that all starts with marketing. Collect reviews from happy customers and offer incentives for referrals. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you need to bring on some help to service all your clients. But, that’s a discussion for another day.

Final Thoughts on How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

Well, there you have it. We’ve covered all that you need to know on how to start a pressure washing business. We’ve explained what do you need to start a pressure washing business, and you’ve gained insights into what separates successful companies from the rest. At this point, the only thing left to do is take action. Start brainstorming your business model – identify the needs in your community and determine how you’ll fulfill them. Then, get your equipment and supplies and get to work! Best of luck.